In-Game Currency for Cash (legally)

Michael Zenke, being his usual self, wrote another excellent post describing his ten points that would make the perfect MMO. I agree with almost every point he posted, particularly about hopping between servers (but not for $25 *gasp*) and making sure your game is relatable.

One smaller problem I do see, however, is the bit about selling currency back to the game. In theory, I think this would be an excellent for the player to be able to potentially play the game for free or even for a bit of extra cash. The biggest problem with this would be finding the perfect balance between currency and cash. If the balance favors currency, players will feel as though the time they put in to obtain the currency isn’t worthwhile. If it swings the other way in favor of cash, it’s pretty obvious what might happen then *cough* gold farmers *cough*. This would potentially legitimize (even legalize) what they do. This would only create more problems. Not only would the finance department of these games have to deal with the charge backs that they face now, but they would also be losing even more money that they are actually giving to them. If it becomes too much of an issue they will either drop the balance back too far making it pointless, or they will do away with it all together. If the balance isn’t in their favor or they do scrap the idea, they will simply go back to the player.

This also ignores one major flaw with this system, which is that the developers don’t need our currency. They can make or destroy as much as they want. There are already methods of taking currency out of these games; they’re called money sinks. Why would they be willing to dish out cash for something that they can create on their own? I don’t think they would be, other than using it as a feature to possibly attract more players.

Again, I think this is an idea that if pulled off correctly could be great, but there are so many elements that need to be considered that even getting them to consider it would be difficult.



2 comments so far

  1. Robert on

    I think Eve Online does this best.

    You can buy 30 or 90 day game time cards in real life for cash. Each of these cards has a code that you can redeem to extend your account subscription by 30 or 90 days.

    Eve online offers an official, secure and sanctioned system where you can ‘sell’ these codes to other players for in-game money/gold.

    That means players in the game who make a lot of gold, can just use it to buy these codes and extend their subscription.

    Players who would rather not spend all the time in-game to grind gold can just buy these cards and sell them for gold.

    It’s a win for both these player types. It’s also a win for Eve Online since you have two happy players and an extended subscription.

    I’d love to see other MMO’s take this approach!

  2. kanthalos on

    Wow, that’s really interesting. I hadn’t heard about that, thanks for pointing it out!

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